USGS Chesapeake Bay Conference
Dec. 2001 / Jan. 2002
On November 28 and 29, approximately 100 USGS scientists (and at least as many geese) gathered on
the foggy shores of St. Michaels, MD, to attend the USGS Chesapeake Bay Conference. The purpose
of this meeting, organized by Scott Phillips, USGS Chesapeake Bay Coordinator, was to update USGS
scientists and managers on the new science needs and activities arising from the "Chesapeake 2000"
restoration agreement. This agreement among the partners of the Chesapeake Bay Program
(Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, several Federal agencies, and the
Chesapeake Bay Commission) establishes ambitious new restoration goals for the bay and its
watershed during the next decade. Despite nearly 2 decades of coordinated restoration efforts,
Chesapeake Bay was designated in 1999 as an "impaired water body" under the Clean Water Act.
One aim of this new agreement is to reduce concentrations of the excess nutrients and sediment
that led to that "impaired" designation.
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Regional and Focus-Area Studies [larger version]:
In addition to studies of regional (that is, watershed) scope, the USGS is also conducting intensive,
multidisciplinary studies in three specific focus areas: the Pocomoke, Susquehanna, and Potomac
River basins. These focus areas include sites of high nutrients, sediment, and toxins due to
agricultural, suburban, and urban land-use practices.
Reflecting the multiagency interest and involvement in USGS bay science, the lead speaker at
the conference was Rich Batiuk of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Chesapeake Bay
Program Office. Attending from the USGS in St. Petersburg were John Brock, Tonya Clayton,
and Chuck Holmes. They presented posters discussing potential remote-sensing applications in
the bay (Brock and Clayton) and results from a recent study of short-lived isotopes in the
Pocomoke River watershed (Holmes). Presenters from USGS in Woods Hole included John
Bratton, who is documenting long-term changes in dissolved oxygen, and John Warner, who
is working on the Community Sediment Transport Model. Tom Gross of the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Courtney Harris (Virginia Institute of Marine
Science), collaborators on this modeling project, were present as well for their multimedia
poster presentation. In all, more than 20 talks and 20 posters were presented, reflecting the
full range of the USGS Chesapeake Bay science goals:
Improve land-cover and land-use data to understand changes in water quality and living
Understand the impact of sediment on water clarity and biota.
Enhance the prediction and monitoring of nutrient delivery to the bay.
Assess the occurrence of toxic constituents and emerging contaminants.
Assess the factors affecting the health of submerged aquatic vegetation, fish, and waterbirds.
Disseminate information and enhance decision-support systems.
For more information about USGS contributions to Chesapeake Bay efforts, see USGS Fact
Sheet FS 125-01, "The U.S. Geological Survey Chesapeake Bay Science Program," and the
accompanying Web site. For more information about the
Chesapeake Bay Program, see the program's Web site.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
multi-state, multi-agency partnership
Dec. 2001 / Jan. 2002
in this issue:
Honduras Coral Reefs
Miami Canal Surveys
Cape Cod Lakes
African Dust Lecture
Falmouth, MA Public Schools
WHFC Web Site
Sea-Level Rise & Coastal Disasters
Restoring Louisiana's Coastal Ecosystems
Two New Postdocs
Student & Visiting Scientist
Cape Cod Marathon
Dec./Jan. Publications List